Opening at the Field Museum today (Friday, May 26) is Chicago’s Legacy Hula, the first exhibition to explore the migration of Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) to Chicago. This untold story highlights and celebrates four Kumu Hula (Master Teachers of Hula) who made monumental contributions to the future development of the Native Hawaiian and Hula communities in the Chicago Midwest.
Featuring a variety of cultural items from the Field’s collection that span the past century, this intimate exhibition includes a selection of kāhili (feathered royal standards), regalia, Hula percussion implements, as well as video and historical and contemporary photographs.
“Native Hawaiians have been in Chicago for 130 years, yet our contributions as a community has largely gone unrecognized,” said co-curator Kuma Hula Carole Lanialoha Lee. “This exhibition will bring to light the timing of Hula’s arrival to Chicago: that while the first Hula practitioners to come to Chicago were en-route to perform at the World Fair in 1893, the Queen is overthrown in Hawai`i and imprisoned in the `Iolani Palace by U.S. Military. The identities of many Native Hawaiian dancers and musicians who remained in Chicago survived through performances for income. And the discovery of an Ali`i (Chiefess) who moved to Chicago, leaving us with four generations lineage here.”
- Kāhili (feather royal standards) gifted to the Field Museum by descendants of Hawaiian Royalty
- Traditional lei, instruments, and regalia used for Hula
- `Ahu `ula (feather cape), which once belonged to King Kamehameha II
- Intergenerational photography of Kumu Hula (Master Hula teachers) who played key roles in the legacy and continuation of Hula in Chicago and beyond